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China and Russia’s absence at G-20: A silent but powerful protest

Teo Kueh Liang, responding to the Straits Times Editorial, emphasized the significant absence of China and Russia at the G-20 summit. He highlighted their critical roles in addressing global issues such as climate change and debt distress. Their non-participation, seen as a protest against U.S. actions, affects the summit’s potential for achieving meaningful resolutions.



by Mr Teo Kueh Liang

I refer to the Straits Times Editorial, “G-20 summit promises partial success” (8 Sep).

The G20, without the participation of the leaders of China and Russia will definitely be lackluster or inferior.

As China and Russia did not take part in the forum on the pressing issues facing the world such as the climate change, food and energy security and debt distress in the developing countries will have difficulty for the G-20 to reach an concerted, workable consensus.

In view of the two of the largest carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the world – China and Russia have clearly explained the attendance and participation of Chinese and Russian leaders in the G-20 are important and necessary.

So that, the governments of China and Russia could make meaningful contributions or commitments to tackle the issues of climate change.

For example, China grew 10% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2023, rising approximately 1% above the record levels seen in 2021 (The new analysis by CREA).

And, Russia’s 4% greenhouse gas emissions are mostly from fossil gas, oil and coal. Russia emits 2 or 3 billion tonnes CO2eq of greenhouse gases each year; about 4% of world emissions.

In regards to improving and enhancing food and energy security, the world leaders of G-20 spare no effort to be concerned about the world’s capacity to feed its burgeoning population and expressing serious concerns about the unsecured fluctuations and instability of energy supplies.

Hence, It is especially imperative for the leaders of China and Russia to actively get involved in the G-20 summit for problem-solving when the persistence of Ukrainian war has not released a glimmer of peace.

It will be ideal, or in a win-win situation if the top leaders of China and Russia could participate in the summit of G-20 to discuss how to help debt-ridden countries to
deal with and mediate debt repayment duration, disputes and problems.

I think the main reason why Chinese President Xi Jinping did not attend the G-20 is mainly because the United States continues to impose sanctions and suppress Chinese companies in the United States and is unable to fulfill its commitments to the Chinese government.

As for the reason why Russian President Vladimir Putin did not attend the G-20, it is also because the United States and its NATO allies continue to support and supply arms to Ukraine and continue to impose economic sanctions on Russia.

This move by China and Russia can be said to be a silent and most powerful protest.

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